Jack Kerouac, as Sal Paradise once said: "I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion." And I think that's a rather apt description of my blog over the years, and perhaps the most perfect description of me in general that I've ever read. So that's what this blog is, a collection of the falling stars that are beckoning me at any time.
01 March 2008
Land of the Living
At any rate, I wanted to put on my former film student hat for a second and rant on the state of American film. So the other day I had a doctor's appointment and was reading the newspaper in the waiting room. There was an article about how dismal the ratings for the Oscars were this year and the article was really sort of complaining that it was in a way the Academy's fault for not nominating high-grossing films that scads of people had seen. This, well really cheesed me off for one, the Academy Awards are supposed to be about the best film-making, not which film can sucker the most people into going with the promise of the most explosions and tits, but beyond that I think it misses the mark about who to blame for the year's best films not being the year's most-seen films.
There have always been films and movies, films were serious about their art and movies were serious about pure viewer enjoyment and this is still true and will always be true, the problem is that there aren't enough hybrids anymore. That's the real reason that more high-grossing movies aren't making it to the Oscar list, they don't have enough craft to be there on their own merit. I mean, okay, I thought Forrest Gump was over-rated twaddle and I was livid that it won anything over Shawshank Redemption that year, especially Tom Hanks winning that second Oscar over Morgan Freeman which was an utter abomination, but despite the fact that Gump was mass market friendly and genuinely a movie (even without explosions) it was also a film. Jaws was a film and a movie, so was Jurassic Park, even the Matrix was an even balance of art and mass appeal at least until the second installment turned into an example of how Hollywood is derivitive and lazy most of the time, but it seems like there's a real dearth of old school directors who put out quality films that also happen to be giant spectacle blockbusters. Cinema is really the lesser for the lack of Hollywood buckling down and trying to put out well-written, well-acted, well-directed big-budget spectaculars instead of a spate of crap remakes and un=imaginative sequels. Steven Spielberg in the 80s was both an autuer and a man who understood the appeal of a good action flick and even he seems to have forgotten what it's about. I'm sure I'm no longer making sense, but the gist is I think the fact that Hollywood churns out crap and expects us to swallow it and directors with vision and talent seem mostly afraid to tackle making something as mainstream appealing as it is deep enough for the film theory fanatistes and that's a real shame.
Speaking of films, I just got back from seeing Be Kind Rewind, which despite being a comedy I cried during, which is I guess unsurprising in that I have cried at every Michel Gondry film ever. I can see why critical reaction is so mixed, honestly the film is a little slow, occasionally a little boring and while it's quite funny at times, Gondry's trailer of him recreating his own trailer alà the film's protagonists is far funnier than the film is. I couldn't not like it though because, well, the film is one big film theory essay on the very nature of film and really why it's important to us all. I don't know if it really succeeds for a viewer who can't read that, but it deserves a place in the not disappointing category for me because it reminded me of something I forgot and that's what made me cry.
I seem to have missed Persepolis, that sucks I was really looking forward to it. Though I guess I could make the drive to the Riepma Ross tomorrow, but I don't know if it's worth putting that many miles on my sick little car as nothing seems to take very long to come out on DVD anymore, and I'm woefully behind on good movies that are showing here still.
Son of Rambow looks half amazing and half schmaltzy feel-good-crap, I'll probably see it anyway. I am horrified by the Speed Racer trailer, one that there is a speed racer movie on the way and two because it looks like some kind of frightening concept film actually, I hate to say it, but it looks like the love child of Sirk and Bay, oh g-d, maybe I'm actually dying to see it. Maybe I was wrong maybe it's not Roland Emmerich who's the new Douglas Sirk, maybe it's the Wachowskis! Also Harold and Kumar escape from Guantanamo Bay? Are you serious Hollywood? Really?